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Inside Mobile Design and User Experience

Thoughts on mobile and social business applications, design, and user experience, by Chris Reckling.

This year in UX, right after Lotusphere, we consolidated a lot of different design efforts on mobile into a single UX team, which I lead. So far, we've done some amazing work and the designs are starting to permeate into other parts of the collaboration portfolio. We already shipped Connections apps to the app stores for Blackberry, Android, and iOS. More to come on that front later...along with Sametime client updates.

This week, we release an update to Notes Traveler 8.5.3!! Jessica Peter, on my team, is the lead designer on Traveler, as well as a couple of other projects that I cannot reveal yet (top secret, you know). Traveler has been one of our most successful products and has gotten a lot of praise and usage with our customers. I use it everyday on both my iPad 2 and my HTC Incredible Android phone. We have a motto in mobile: "it just works" and it does! So, Jessica's work was to take a look at the apps that are part of Traveler - Mail, Calendar, and Lookup - and add the polish to them that was needed, design some new features, and keep Traveler as easy to use as it has been. Since IBM ships clients for Android and was adding a Symbian 3 client, this is where most of the UI focus went.

Here are a few screenshots Jessica put together to help me illustrate some of the new features.
The inbox got a small adjustment in that the checkboxes are nicer. Inside a message, text selection is supported.
Traveler 8.5.3 Inbox screen

We added widgets for your Android homescreens, in small and large sizes. Personally, I like the small one for calendar and the large one for email.
Widgets for mail and calendar

There's type ahead enhancements in the addressing fields. Traveler not only searches your local contacts, but also the server, including groups and mail-in dbs.
Type ahead addressing in the compose form

In the mail compose form, we added common actions right on screen so you don't need to use the menus to send the mail. We moved less used fields (cc, bcc, options) into the menus instead of cluttering the screen.  In addition, multi-line signatures are supported - go to Settings -> Applications to change it.
New compose form for mail

You can add invitees to a calendar entry from the device, which presented a few design challenges with all that information, so we made easy to read sections. You can also perform other chairperson actions like reschedule, cancel, or modify a meeting. When you open a meeting on the device, phone numbers are recognized so you can "tap to dial". If you want to be really good, you can put in mobile-friendly conference call numbers with passcodes, using the format: p or w. The 'p' will pause and the 'w' will wait for the user before entering the passcode. Comma and semi-colon also work the same way.
Calendar form organized into sections

There is a view where you can go to process all those calendar invitations that come in all day.
Easily process calendar invitations

For admins and their users, the first time install process has improved. There isn't a separate "Lotus Installer" app - it's all built into Lotus Traveler. In addition, little things like remembering the server name so that it is pre-filled into the field makes it that much easier to get going.

That's it for now. There are a lot more administration improvements, too, which I'm sure others will be covering over the next few weeks, or you could go check out the wiki.

We hope you enjoy it!


Chris Reckling | 4 October 2011 08:15:00 AM ET |

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